In a post titled, “Cable News Irony Alert: CNN, Fox and The Disappearing General Audience”, the only thing ironic is that Time magazine’s “Swampland” blog sounds like it’s the last to figure cable TV news out:
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn appeared Sunday morning on Howard Kurtz’s CNN show Reliable Sources to discuss her comments in my TIME magazine story this week. She continued her criticism of Fox News:
But let’s be realistic here, Howie. You know, they are widely viewed as, you know, part of the Republican Party. Take their talking points, put them on the air. Take their opposition research, put them on the air and that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.
The ironic part came later, during the commercial break. All morning, CNN has been intermittently running a promo for Anderson Cooper 360, a show that has long billed itself as a classic straight news program with an investigative front man who digs “beyond the headlines” with “many points of view, so you can make up your own mind.” The new promo, by contrast, consists of a woman’s voice, pitching Cooper’s show as, essentially, a liberal alternative to Fox News: “I’m a lifelong Democrat,” she says, “and that’s why I watch Anderson Cooper.” Hmmm. The voice goes on to say that Cooper is the person she can turn to hold “right wing” conservatives accountable. Cooper is not exactly aiming for the political middle ground here.
But then who is? MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz are committed liberals, increasingly focused on the dual project of holding President Obama to a liberal line and attacking his detractors. Fox News, on the other hand, is well, Fox News. Dunn, on Kurtz’s show, made a point of criticizing Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace for “fact checking” an Obama administration official but not its other Republican guests. So it goes.
If anything, the Anderson Cooper promo is just the latest evidence of what Fox News president Roger Ailes seems to have known long ago: Cable news viewers seem to want an ideological slant to their information. The cable audience has fractured beyond the general news programming.
Talk about meta: Time magazine, which itself junked objectivity in order to have a shot at survival in the dinosaur world of weekly news (read: opinion) magazines, has just figured out that cable news long ago did the same thing.
Welcome to the (Democratic, in your case) party, fellas — and note the date on the article at this link.